Sandra Jones Campbell is my favorite contemporary artist. This summary (from Portland's own Attic Gallery) says it all, "Sandra describes her paintings as composites of social sightings portraying evocative associations from a voyeuristic perspective, often at moments of personal social apprehensions or sociological attitudes." I love her because she captures for me a colorful truth: we are social creatures that have a need to socialize in packs.
In case you don’t know the definition of a pack, here it is:
A) A pack is a group of wild animals, living and hunting together.
B) A pack is a small cardboard container and the items contained within it.
They say there’s strength in numbers. There might be strength in numbers, but strength is not confidence. Regardless of size, packs fall under two categories: confident packs and an insecure packs.
Think of (A) as a confident pack. Members who belong to a confident pack can roam. They can come and go. They have purpose. They support and embrace change and growth. Which means that the pack size does not matter, what matters is its own values or virtues.
Think of (B) as an insecure pack. A cardboard illusion of strength holds individuals who are not confident on their own. Change or growth means breaking the container or connection, holding them together. Conformity creates a fear of being replaced. There are only so many spots the container holds, and anyone new who comes in can potentially take it.
You will know the kind of pack you belong to by the way they greet new people when you bring them around. One will be curious and welcome them into the pack, even challenging the newcomer out of respect; while the other will simply reject the newcomer or pretend they don't exist — offering them a chair might mean losing their own.
So these insecure packs stay the same, exuding a kind of faux-confidence that becomes the envy of outsiders. Until, of course, you realise that their strong connection is made of paper.